Speaking on Saturday to Canada's new ambassador to the Holy See, Donald Smith, Pope John Paul II insisted - in the light of recent developments in Canadian marriage law in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage - on the "necessary complementarity" of men and women in the institution of marriage for the survival of culture and society.
The Pope began his speech by recalling his visits to Canada, "especially the joyous occasion of World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto," and noted "Canada's generous and practical contributions to the building of a world of peace, justice and prosperity” such as “involvement in peace-keeping missions and the production of low-cost medicines for poorer nations" which are “widely recognized by the international community.”
“Indeed, solidarity with developing nations…spring from values and convictions which have shaped Canadian society throughout its history and upon which all authentic social progress depends," said the Holy Father.
The Pope praised "Canada's openness to migration” which brings “increasing diversity and a great richness to your culture, fostering mutual accommodation and respect between ethnic groups,” as an illustration for other nations “that the respect due to every person is rooted in the common origin of all men and women, rather than in the fact of differences between peoples.”
He then pointed out that “ it is this sublime and fundamental truth concerning the human person - created male and female in the image and likeness of God - which constitutes the immutable basis for all other anthropological truths."
Turning to the marriage question, John Paul II said that "for generations Canadians have recognized and celebrated the place of marriage at the heart of your society. ... The institution of marriage necessarily entails the complementarity of husbands and wives who participate in God's creative activity through the raising of children.
“Spouses thereby ensure the survival of society and culture, and rightly deserve specific and categorical legal recognition by the State,” he continued. “Any attempts to change the meaning of the word "spouse" contradict right reason: legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, cannot be applied to unions between persons of the same sex without creating a false understanding of the nature of marriage."
The Pope closed by expressing confidence that "the splendid vision of supportive and stable family life, so dear to the people of Canada, will continue to offer to society the foundation upon which the aspirations of your nation can be built." He highlighted the Catholic Church's role in assisting "in upholding the essential social foundations of civic life" and in forming youth, "especially through her schools, and her social apostolate."
Read the full Pope’s message: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/document.php?n=42